RIDE 2011: Supporting students: part-time tutors and international partnerships (Anne Gaskell)


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Slides from presentation at Research in Distance Education 2011 conference, held on 26 October 2011: "Supporting students: part-time tutors and international partnerships", by Anne Gaskell, Teaching and Learner Support, Open University. More details can be found at www.cde.london.ac.uk.

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RIDE 2011: Supporting students: part-time tutors and international partnerships (Anne Gaskell)

  1. 1. Supporting students: part-time tutors and international partnerships Anne Gaskell Senior Project Manager, Student Services November 2011
  2. 2. Outline of presentation <ul><li>The role of the tutor in the OU </li></ul><ul><li>The impact of e-learning </li></ul><ul><li>International partnerships: what is the impact on the curriculum? </li></ul><ul><li>International partnerships: what quality assurance issues arise? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the implications for future research? </li></ul>
  3. 3. OU part-time tutors <ul><li>7,000 part-time tutors </li></ul><ul><li>37% work full time for other organisations </li></ul><ul><li>20% have the OU as their sole employer </li></ul><ul><li>Live across the UK and CWE </li></ul><ul><li>Have a contract which includes pensions, maternity pay, paid staff development </li></ul>
  4. 4. The role of the tutor in the OU <ul><li>Separation of function in distance teaching institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Tutors facilitate student learning, rather than create materials/lecture </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of correspondence tuition – in 2004, 44% said it accounted for 40-50% of their time (Gibbs, 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>84% of 82,935 students agreed that “the tutor’s comments helped me improve” (2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of student support – 80% agreed that “the tutor responded well to my particular needs for support” (2010) </li></ul>
  5. 5. The impact of e-Learning <ul><li>Blurs the separation of course creation and delivery (Thorpe, 2002) </li></ul><ul><li>Requires management of student expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Leads to increased staff (and student) development needs </li></ul><ul><li>- Tutors the group of staff most enthusiastic about additional e-Learning development (2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Increased competition – from distance learning for some to flexible delivery for all (King, 2010) </li></ul>
  6. 6. International partnerships <ul><li>Different staff roles, issues and arrangements in partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Arab OU – implications for curriculum? </li></ul><ul><li>NIIT working in Botswana – implications for quality assurance? </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Arab Open University <ul><li>Private University </li></ul><ul><li>2002 Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon; 2003 Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman </li></ul><ul><li>Affiliated to the OU UK </li></ul><ul><li>OU role: licensing of materials, consultancies, accreditation, and validation. </li></ul><ul><li>IT and Computing, English Language, Education, Business </li></ul>
  8. 8. Curriculum: English Literature <ul><li>Pride and Prejudice acceptable </li></ul><ul><li>Frankenstein not acceptable – replaced by Jane Eyre </li></ul><ul><li>No Literature and Gender </li></ul><ul><li>Romantic poetry without Byron </li></ul><ul><li>Different cultural traditions of teaching and learning </li></ul><ul><li>70% compulsory face-to-face by law </li></ul>
  9. 9. NIIT: OU partnership in Botswana <ul><li>Botho College a partner in delivering OU’s BSc Hons “Computing and its practice” </li></ul><ul><li>6000 students </li></ul><ul><li>More face-to-face support than in UK but same materials and same assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Different cultural expectations in terms of role of tutor and student and learning and teaching styles </li></ul>
  10. 10. Quality assurance of partnership <ul><li>Not just of outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Aim to make student experience comparable </li></ul><ul><li>OU direct role in approval of tutors and academic managers </li></ul><ul><li>Initially OU a larger role in QA of tutors and academic managers </li></ul><ul><li>Increasingly role in handover of QA of staff to partner and monitoring progress </li></ul>
  11. 11. Lessons learnt <ul><li>Both partners need to be willing to invest, change and improve </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability – student numbers, staff available </li></ul><ul><li>Student support local and tailored </li></ul><ul><li>Development of mutual trust and respect </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding of different cultural traditions in teaching and learning </li></ul>
  12. 12. Questions <ul><li>How is e-Learning breaking down barriers between students, course authors and partners in your own programme? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the implications of delivering one curriculum internationally? </li></ul><ul><li>Is quality assurance of outcomes sufficient to ensure a high quality student experience? </li></ul><ul><li>What research issues do these examples raise? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Thank you for your attention <ul><li>Any questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Anne Gaskell </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>